Despite maintaining her innocence in the college bribery scandal dubbed 'Operation Varsity Blues', a source close to actress Lori Loughlin says that the mother of two may now be regretting her not guilty plea. Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannuli are facing up to 40 years in prison if convicted on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud after the couple was alleged to have paid $500,000 to secure admission for their two daughters into USC.
A source told Entertainment Tonight that the former Fuller House actress "feels very much alone" since the scandal made headlines. "While a few friends have stuck by her side, many others have cut her off," the source claims. "She still feels it’s a huge misunderstanding, but seeing others be sentenced has scared her." The source also states that Loughlin is currently worried that she made a mistake by pleading not guilty. "She is watching the reduced sentences of those who have taken plea deals, and wondering each day if she’s made the wrong decision."
The scandal has impacted the actress's personal and professional life. She was fired by Crown Media where she starred on the Hallmark Channel's hit drama series "When Calls the Heart" and it was announced she would be written out of the final season of Netflix's Fuller House series. The source tells ET that she's simply trying "to hang in there and do the best she can."
"She is trying to live a normal everyday life and to take this time to stay strong but it isn’t easy. Lori doesn’t have the support she once had. She is feeling a 'fall from grace' having had a persona as a wholesome mom and now being seen as a pariah," the source says. "People keep giving Lori a hard time for being out and about and looking carefree, but she realizes that she might end up in prison and this might just be her last months of freedom for some time."
The source added that Loughlin seems to be realizing that she may actually end up serving time in jail. "This has been such a tough time for her, she has had good days and bad but right now the reality that she is facing jail becomes more real."
Many of the other people charged in the college bribery scandal, like actress Felicity Huffman, pleaded guilty and have since apologized for their actions. At the time a source told PEOPLE that Loughlin didn't believe that she had done anything wrong. "It’s just taking some time for it to sink in that what she was allegedly doing could be considered illegal...From the beginning, she didn’t want to take a deal, because she felt that she hadn’t done anything that any mom wouldn’t have done if they had the means to do so. So this wasn’t her being obstinate; this was her truly not understanding the seriousness of the allegations."
While Loughlin and Giannulli are facing a maximum prison sentence of 40 years, reports are stating that Huffman is probably facing a recommended sentence of four months. Loughlin and Giannulli are due back in court in October.